Auction Sales as a Path to Value for Pre-Loved Goods

When it comes to realising value from assets of an estate, or surplus assets from downsizing or decluttering, there is a well-worn path everyone travels when considering their available options. These usually include:

“Maybe we should try a garage sale”
“I’ve used eBay and Gumtree before, let’s sell on there!”
“Surely we have some friends who will want this stuff?”
“Maybe we should try the auctions sales?”
“We can always take it to the Salves or Vinnies.”
“Maybe we can just put some things out on the footpath”
“It’s just all got to go to the tip!”

Each of these options has its pros and cons. This blog discusses those relating to selling through auction houses.

The good news first. Auction houses bring a well-developed expertise when it comes to knowing what will sell at auction and how much it will sell for. Therefore, you generally receive an estimate sale price for the goods. It is important to know this is just an estimate – it could be less or more depending on the day of auction however, it is always nice to have an estimate beforehand.

Secondly, auction houses have their own developed clientele. They have regular customers who frequent their auctions looking for a particular class of pre-loved goods. For example, a collector of World War II memorabilia will attend an auction house that specialises in this; whereas a lover of fine china will attend a different auction house that often sells such goods. If you have goods that may fall into a particular category, it is worthwhile finding an auction house whose customers will want your goods. In addition, differing auction houses stage their auctions on different cycles to accommodate their customer base both as to appetite and value. Therefore, it is important to understand these features when approaching an auction house.

Thirdly, the charges imposed by auction houses vary widely. The fees charged can include handling fees, listing fees, heavy lifting fees, recharge fees, and commissions. These will all vary depending on the goods and the volume of goods being sold, as well as the time of year and volume of goods being dealt with.

Fourth, the auction house schedules for consignment of goods will vary, again depending on schedules for auctions and storage capacity for the auction houses. These are all factors which can impact on the cost of sale, and obviously on the net proceeds to the vendor.

Fifth, another important factor to consider is the marketing approach of each auction house. Online selling has become more important in our digital world. Online selling makes goods more accessible and available to a wider audience. Some auction houses have interactive online bidding, online categories are prepared to invest in online promotion and marketing. All these factors are important in considering realisation for your goods. Have a look at the auction house’s online system. If it is not up to scratch (or in some cases non-existent!) then maybe consider different venues.

Finally: the challenge of logistics and what to do if the goods do not sell. Inevitably, the goods being sold and presented for sale need to be transported to the auction houses. How you get the goods there will vary depending on size and volume. If it fits in the backseat of your car, you are laughing! But if you require a van, or a truck, or several trucks you may have to hire someone to move it or rent a truck yourself which will obviously lower the overall proceeds you receive. Also, each auction house has different procedures regarding goods that do not sell. Some may require you to come and pick them back up if they fail to sell (which may mean another truck hire!) Other auction houses may attend to tipping or donation of unsold goods, so it is important to consider this when choosing who you will sell with.

These are just some of the myriad issues which are important to consider when determining the best process to adopt in ensuring a value-realisation solution.